Tonight’s journal entry is on the topic, what does liberation look like in your relationship with God and your relationship with others?
This is interesting given the topic of our discussion was on lament and the Advent Devotional done by Pastor Tahina Verna Rasche and Pastor Jason Chesnut in 2016 called Fuck this Shit. It was a discussion of what lament is and how lament is different from complaint and how the decisions we make to follow where the gospel is leading us will sometimes lead us to trouble and to issues by speaking the truth in love and using the vernacular and meeting the people where they are.
Pastor Tahina spoke to our class this evening about her involvement and personal journey around the devotional and it reminded me of some things in my story, which I will get to in a moment, but first the name of the entry tonight. I had to google it, but this is what I found for Hindi for we. Pastor Tahina said she learned to pray in the car as a young lady with her mother doing left turns and the prayer was always for we, for her and her mother, and for all of the people around them in other vehicles and walking. The prayer was always we, not I and it was communal. As lament is communal. I wrote a note in the word doc on my computer – “Lament is communal – those who are looking to leave this world because they don’t find love, are not accepted or feeling the love of community”. And we need to understand that lament is a cry to God to know that we are in this and need to work together to make God’s kindom come.
We are the community.
We are the lamentors.
We are the liberated.
There is a lot in the community of the world today that wants to look at the Gospel in a way that has salvation be liberation. We are not saved to something but liberated to be something. We are liberated from the bondage of the world. We are liberated from the bondage of the boxes we are put in, by others and ourselves.
But what does liberation look like? I said earlier the conversation tonight reminded me of a story. It was 2009, months before the ELCA would vote to allow congregations that wanted to have pastors in life-long monogamous same-sex relationships to be their pastors they could, when I was in conversations with a congregation in the Southwestern Texas Synod of the ELCA. I thought things were going well and as I was preparing to visit with the call committee for the first time in person I spoke with the assistant to the bishop there about my earrings. And he told me, “if you really want this call, you should remove your earrings.” So I did. I put myself in the box of what the congregation would want. And the call was extended and I accepted. In September of 2010 the congregation made it clear that they wanted out of the ELCA, and I did not, so I put back in my earrings. Not because I believed differently than the congregation, but because I knew that God had called me there to help them in this moment, and that by hiding who I was I was only hurting myself and the congregation. There were many conversations around my earrings. And I remember one older gentleman came into my office and asked me what I would tell a young man in high school if he came in and said his parents wouldn’t let him get his ear pierced. I told him I would tell the young man to honor the 4th commandment. (For those of you, not Lutheran, that is Honor your parents.) As long as he is living with his parents he needs to do as they say.
So many times we hide our true selves and fit into a box to make others happy, but that is not liberation. Liberation is when we are who God created us to be. Liberation is all of us living our lives as God intended. Liberation to me is being who God created and not hiding that from anyone. Living your life out loud unapologetically. (Unless you by chance happen to offend a given understanding or community in a way that belittles them or denied their existence, then make amends and learn and do better.)
Liberation is salvation.
The cross frees us to live love out loud and be the child of God we were created to be.
Until we are all living the way God created us, we are not ham sab and are not liberated.
It takes all of us being as God created us to be ham sab and liberated.